As the US restaurant industry was bouncing back with strong numbers post covid era, the spread of the Delta variant threatens the fragile recovery of U.S. restaurants, according to a report from the National Restaurant Association.
Total annual sales at U.S. restaurants are expected to rise 19.7% from 2020 to $789 billion in 2021. But that will still be 8.7% lower than 2019’s $864.3 billion total sales.
Restaurant closures and social distancing measures resulted in an increasing demand for online food delivery, both directly through a restaurant’s website or using a third-party delivery service. There is a drastic change in consumer behavior, when choosing where and what to eat, safety is paramount. Search interest for “is food delivery safe” has increased 650% across the U.S. since the beginning of March 2020.
Restaurants must adopt digital transformation to stay competitive and retain customers through an online experience for dine-in and food ordering. We have listed some key points to help restaurants to create their digital strategy in line to increase their top-line results:
Convert static website to the dynamic, mobile-first transactional platform
Most restaurant owners underestimate the power of the website and the gamut of features/services they can offer with transaction value to increase the business’s top line. Following are some key services restaurants can offer:
Website Food Ordering for Pickup & Delivery
An in-house solution offers a restaurant to accept orders from the website providing diners the flexibility to pay in advance through card or cash/card payment at the outlet during pickup. In case if a restaurant has an in-house delivery, team or hires part-time delivery drivers, the restaurant can start receiving orders directly from their websites and simply draw the delivery zone they want to serve. Following are the benefits:
- Branding is what a restaurant achieves through an updated menu, dish images, and special offers
- The restaurant can enhance its online reach and have a complete hold on the customer experience.
- Keeping everything in-house increases the order accuracy and pick-up/delivery time.
- The restaurant can free up resources and avoid missing orders through unattended calls.
- 100% profitability achievement, as now the restaurant doesn’t have to pay commissions to 3rd party delivery companies.
- Customer data acquisition is the most important aspect, as with this data multiple targeted marketing campaigns can be run to encourage repeat orders.
Integrating Restaurant Website with 3rd Party Food Delivery App
Onboarding a 3rd party food delivery service company is a great choice for restaurants that don’t want the responsibility of hiring and training an in-house delivery team. Website integration helps the diners to seamlessly redirect from the website to 3rd party app/web app and start ordering. Eventually, the restaurants get more visibility, sales conversions, and repeat orders due to the fact some diners store card information on these Apps for effortless future ordering.
Website Table Reservations Widget with Advance Ordering
The ultimate objective for a restaurant is to increase the table turn-around to 2-3X during the serving session, and they cannot only rely on walk-ins. At the same time, managing reservations overcall is a tedious task and a dedicated resource is required. To overcome these challenges restaurants should opt for a table reservation system with real-time inventory management. This also offers a website visitor instant gratification towards reserving a table with the booking confirmation and with an advance feature of ordering ahead. This safe a lot of time as the diner skips the waiting time and their favorite food is served hot and fresh on their arrival. Also, the platform provides an ultimate solution for restaurants for managing the dining area as per minimum seating capacity for following social distancing norms.
Event & Party Bookings
Restaurants with private space only rely on word of mouth and inbound telephonic leads for events/party bookings. Due to the lack of digital processes and automated information flow the sales cycle tends to extend and chances of customer dropout increase. In today’s digital era customers want complete information on the go to decide and transact digitally. Restaurants need to transform and provide complete package details with booking requests, customer reviews, digital payments, and FAQs to provide customers with a great experience.
Dine-In Digital Program
To provide a diner with a contactless dining experience dine-in digital programs should be the first choice of the restaurants. It enables restaurants customers to order as soon from the website as they get seated at the table, by simply scanning the QR code menu and allowing diners to pay digitally. This eventually reduces the table turnaround time vis-a-vis provides an amazing dining experience.
Digital Coupons & Promos
The restaurant website transforms into a great digital channel for marketing promotions. Once the restaurant is onboarded with a website food ordering solution a variety of marketing campaigns for deals & promotions especially targeting new & existing customers can be executed. Diners can avail of exclusive discounts from the website for encouraging them to reserve a table or order food. This is a great opportunity to pass on the benefits to the diner in terms of discounts rather than to 3rd party delivery apps companies.
At Biz Klinics we help restaurants to achieve their business success through marketing and business consulting. We are a team of business consultants, digital marketers, brand experts, and software engineers with more than a decade of experience working in the hospitality and restaurant industry. We are headquartered in the US with a delivery center in India. Visit us at www.bizklinics.com/restaurants to know about us.